The Army Council: Sacred cow or Bargaining Chip?

The Army Council of the IRA appears to be at the pinnacle of that organisation. It has acquired a strange almost mythical status for all sides in Northern Ireland, whatever one’s views of it. Stripping away the mythology, however, the actual status and importance of the Army Council is difficult for outsiders to judge. It could be now irrelevant and a relic from the days of “armed struggle”. Alternatively it could still be the “Only legitimate Government of Ireland”; or, most likely, somewhere in between. As such when unionists demand the disbandment of the army council they may (and only may) actually be imbuing it with greater importance than it now has.It might be that disbanding the army council would make violence more difficult to return to. The end of the organisation which ordered the “volunteers” to halt their campaign might make it more difficult to order a return to violence. Some IRA members might genuinely see a difference between their political leaders when at Stormont and when sitting (with a few others) in someone’s house (or wherever they actually sit) to discuss the direction of the republican movement. It might be that some IRA members would feel that once the organisation had been disbanded the former army council members could not simply set themselves up again at a later date.

Personally I suspect this is relatively unlikely: It is pushing the whole idea of the IRA being an army to a level beyond that which it ever attained. The “volunteers” may have had some significant form of loyalty to the army council but I am unconvinced that all or even most of them endowed it with the almost mystical qualities and mythological status which it has now acquired. I strongly suspect that most “volunteers” justified their actions to themselves without recourse to some strange notion of the government of Ireland. Most probably justified it as “We hate Prods” possibly with a bit of pseudo politics thrown in. Hence, I suspect disbanding the army council would be a symbolic event but would not represent a once and for all act which could not be reversed: for those of a biblical bent I do not see this as a law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revoked. Humpty Dumpty might be relatively easy to put back together again.

Moving a little away from republicans; if the army council was in some way dissolved I have no doubt the SF would expect significant concessions and the British government would attempt to insist on such from the DUP. If the DUP continue to demand the ending of the Army Council before the devolution of policing and justice; I have little doubt that SF will try to make this concession out to be more significant than it is. The DUP and indeed all unionists need to be careful. They feel they know that SF do not want to get rid of the army council but it is difficult to know how much pain that would involve for republicans. As such what should be accepted in return for an end to the army council is also difficult to judge. These are of course the problems which one encounters once on enters into quid pro quo negotiations. An additional problem is that the army council might go away or be suspended without the use of the wording demanded by the DUP. Finally of course it would also be difficult to tell how true any disbandment, indefinite suspension or renewable rolling suspension was.

I am not advocating that the DUP stop demanding an end to the army council. They must, however, be very careful that they are not strung along on the army council issue in the way Trimble was with decommissioning, the war being over or any of those other issues. SF were able to use decommissioning as an extremely effective bargaining chip with Trimble. The DUP need to be careful to ensure that SF do not use the army council in a similar fashion with them.

The army council should go because it is an illegal organisation both in the UK and RoI. Its members are, by dint of this membership, criminals. In addition the DUP must realise that the Army Council is not actually a group of military strategists. It is a group of grubby sectarian criminals and it disbanding itself will be as believable as any other group of criminals promising to go straight. It may be true but a wise man waits for some time before accepting the word of such people.

  • harry

    the army council of a defunct army… they are no more that bunch of self important posers that feign relevance once a year with bland “statements”, yesterdays men. *yawn*

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘The Army Council of the IRA appears to be at the pinnacle of that organisation’

    really Turgon, next you’ll be telling us that the tip of an iceberg is at the top.
    As regards the mythical, mystical quality of the Army council….utter drivel and nonsense. Just because they don’t parade around in lecoqsportif tracksuits and gold chains and appear in the sunday life/world each week, reveling in their parochical celebrity, does not mean they can charm snakes.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Turgon: “It might be that disbanding the army council would make violence more difficult to return to.”

    The skeletal structure of a command, sans soldiers, is referred to as “cadre” and is the frame around which newly trained soldiers are fitted. Eliminating said cadre would indeed make it more difficult to reconstitute the full body of the organization.

    That said, as a secret organization, would you deign to believe the heralds who report their dissolution, should it come, I wonder… I mean, the word of the dog in the street is good enough for the IMC, but there are those who would want proof.

  • Greenflag

    There is only one legitimate Government in Ireland and it’s in Leinster House . The NI devolved Assembly is still in experimental mode. As a forced ‘coalition’ of opposites without an opposition the jury is still out on whether this Assembly will have any longer term permanence .

    As for the Army Council – Old soldiers never die they merely fade away . Resurrecting them too often for reburial will only give the impression that the dead are alive when in fact they are in an advanced state of decomposition.

  • Garibaldy

    Isn’t the Army Convention higher than the council? And presumably it can still meet?

  • Mark McGregor

    For some Republicans the Proclamation is the supreme authority. I’d like to see how Unionism tries to decommission a piece of paper and an ideal even if/when it gets SF to support putting the PIRA AC out of it’s misery.

  • WindsorRocker

    Given that Jim Allister used the existence of the Army Council as one of his main reasons for opposing St Andrews, surely it is he who might be “bigging” them up beyond any importance they might have?

    I think that the whole conversion of the mainstream republican movement has both a mixture of the symbolic and the practical to it.

    We all know the practical elements…. stop killing people, stop recruiting etc.., stop sanctioning criminality These all took varying levels of time to achieve, and we can leave the timing debate to another day.

    Guns and policing were a mixture of the symbolic and practical. We all knew the IRA could get more guns if it wanted to but we also knew that the symbolism that major decommissioning would send to the world and republican grassroots meant that it was never likely that they would try again.
    Some people say policing was irrelevant, or inevitable but again it was a mixture of practical and symbolic. Co-operation on the ground was practical but participating on the current non-devolved arrangements was highly symbolic as, for the first time, mainstream republicans had signed up to something that was still in essence under mainland control.

    Given all of the above, the Army Council is now symbolic… but it is the last ritual of the conversion of the republican movement from terrorism to “normal” politics. It might not be doing anything anymore but its existence is still a symbolic statement of republican intent and ethos. Disbanding it would be like the signal they sent over decommissioning but many times stronger.

    And if anyone is worried that the republican movement could milk such a move, then they seem to have forgotten that they are dealing with different creatures in Robinson and Dodds… It is also a fair point to say that the previous rounds of milking have sucked pretty much all of the symbolic concessions out of the political system and all that is left for HMG to throw at the provos are measures that are nonsense not just to the unionist politicos but to civic society in general. Measures like letting people with serious convictions join the police etc.. Measures which are a world away from changing a name or a cap badge or restructuring the odd regiment or two but things cross the line between symbolic, therefore expedable, and the totally insane.

  • Rory

    Well yes, Garibaldy, of course it is but mining that simple fact from readily available sources might be a task too far for those who prefer to speak in the language of a “strange almost mythical status”.

    Wittgenstein once said, “Whereof you do not know thereof do not speak”, a piece of advice Turgon should take to heart. Perhaps he should stick to biblical interpretation and perhaps the history of the TUV. The latter is short and one can spout any old nonsense on the former and yet will always find someone willing to give them credence.

  • Lak

    As far as the volunteers who fought the war against the British were concerned, the IRA Army Council was the only legitimately-constitued government of Ireland.

    Was the entire ethos of the struggle flawed? Did volunteers die for nothing? It appears so.

  • Turgon

    The Army Council is a group of grubby sectarian criminals and it disbanding itself will be as believable as any other group of criminals promising to go straight.

    Not so. This is an extremely evil group of deluded men who have justified their campaign of violence on the basis that they are allowed to respond with evil to evil. In other words, an eye for an eye is the correct choice, which sets aside 2,000 years of Christian teaching and
    renders the tactical use of human suffering a valid response in any conflict.

    This is so dangerous a philosophy, one that has developed into a sphere of its own in the twentieth century, that it puts the whole future of mankind at risk.

    But this campaign was evil in its own right in that it was the first time that people actually used the taking of human life and the countless injuries as a means of keeping a near-dead conflict in the news. It was the media driven slaughter of the innocents and it deserves to be condemned.

    The IRA are therefore perhaps the most evil organisation in the history of mankind.

    Didn’t the Antichrist have seven heads too?

  • Dave

    I don’t see how the Provos could disband the Army Council without liquidating its vast assets and, presumably, distributing the money to its shareholders… who are, presumably, its members? Remember, this is an international criminal empire that has assets valued in the high hundreds of millions. What are they going to do with all that money? At, say, 150 members, that’s about 5 million each. There will be a lot of brickies, electricians, local councillors and MLAs driving around in new BMWs if that happens. The problem they have is that they have accumulated far too much wealth to ever distribute it to its members without giving the game away.

  • TrueBlue

    “There is only one legitimate Government in Ireland and it’s in Leinster House . The NI devolved Assembly is still in experimental mode. ”

    Greenflag is correct, Leinster House is the only legititmate government in Ireland, as for Northern Ireland the Assembly is the governing power and above that is the British House of Commons.

  • TAFKABO

    Who cares if the army council stays or goes?
    Sinn Fein are administering British rule, if letting them keep their little pretend army keeps them quiet while they’re doing it, then so what?

    Face it, they’re down on the ground, let’s be magannimous in victory, and stop kicking.

  • George

    Mark,
    “For some Republicans the Proclamation is the supreme authority.”

    As they take their authority from the second Dáil, would it not be the 1919 Declaration?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “Sinn Fein are administering British rule, if letting them keep their little pretend army keeps them quiet while they’re doing it, then so what?”

    Because stupid is like pollen — it comes back every so often and gives people headaches.

    Better to get the damn thing done and over with before someone has a case of nostalgia.

  • Dave

    Sure, do it now… but it will only be cosmetic in relation to the Provos, having the effect of promoting new organised crime entities. Do you really think that the Provos are going to be able to dispose of its extensive property portfolio without CAB in the Republic picking them off? There are circa 20 pubs, and a plethora of office blocks, warehouses, private houses, private businesses, etc, in Dublin alone that the Provo are suspected as being the beneficial owners of. The front men may be able to sell them but they will find it impossible to account to the authorities for the disposal of the proceeds. The important function of the Army Council is to manage those who manage the assets of Provos and who manage its ongoing rackets and investments. They simply cannot liquidate those assets and distribute the money to their members as a ‘retirement’ package. All that could happen is that the godfathers give a fraction of the wealth to the members, claiming that the fraction is the full sum, and keep the rest for themselves. That way – and providing they don’t shoot each other in squabbles over who gets to keep the prime properties, shares, and investments, ect – the Army Council can be disbanded and be replaced with individual crime cartels to continue the lucrative rackets, etc.

  • Briso

    “It has acquired a strange almost mythical status for” Turgon the elf.

  • Dec

    And in next weeks edition of Tilting at Windmills, Turgon is joined by a wide range of Unionist Opinion in demanding the British Government extract decommissioning from Loyalists.

    Ho ho, I almost had you all there…

  • kensei

    Turgon

    Its members are, by dint of this membership, criminals. In addition the DUP must realise that the Army Council is not actually a group of military strategists. It is a group of grubby sectarian criminals and it disbanding itself will be as believable as any other group of criminals promising to go straight. It may be true but a wise man waits for some time before accepting the word of such people.

    1. “Criminal” and “Military Strategist” are not mutually exclusive terms. From a purely objective standpoint, the IRA certainly had a military strategy it followed and a few tactical innovations some of which are now employed in Iraq. I presume you would take the same view of the Independence era IRA: it is equally true of that organisation too. This says nothing about the morality of either organisation, nor do you have to consider it admirable in any sense. But I find it hard to sustain the argument that the IRA had no strategy, and that the IRA leadership didn’t direct (and occasionally change) it.

    2. How do you prove an illegal organisation has been “disbanded”?

    3. Given that I’m sure you believe there is a big overlap of the SF leadership and the IRA Army council, do you suppose that Adams and McGuinness should be barred from talking face to face, or something?

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is all a bit of a red herring. The disbandment of the IRA army council will have next to no practical effect on the ground. And given that the organization is both illegal and secret, I don’t know what rule there is that dictates that the IRA’s property portfolio must be sold off. If such property is not currently the subject of a criminal investigation, I don’t see why it would be after any disbandment move.

  • fair_deal

    I sincerely hope this is not a sign that TUVers will start looking for other reasons to stay unhappy if the AC gets dealt with. When JA left this and testing was the big issue he emphasised.

    “Sacred cow or Bargaining Chip?”

    Pretty much all the other sacred cows have become bargaining chips.

    I would just add this general warning that there is a fundamental difference between strategy and counter-strategy.

    Unionism has overly focused on counter-strategy in the past focusing on the others may or may not do. The distinct problem with this is you don’t focus what you want or how you get it. Instead you risk being made to make so many twist and turns that you end up befuddled. It is a significant waste of time and energy try to predict the actions and motivations of others, focus on your own aims and actions.

    Politics will always leave the ideologues at least disappointed if not disillusioned because it will always involve some bargaining. Better to remember that there is always tomorrow.

  • Rory

    It most certainly is “Better to remember that there is always tomorrow” but that is advice that is a very difficult message to relay to those who only ever yearn for yesterday as so much of the unionist body politic tends to do. It is as though they somehow believe that the past 40 years had never been, that it was all a bad dream and soon they will awaken and all will be restored and Unionism will remain inviolate and triumphant, uncriticised and unopposed. And the taigs will, of course, be safely back in their box. It is somewhat akin to the ante bellum yearnings of Dixiecrats without the Mint Julep.

    If only they could learn to accept the political realities of today then there might be some hope of a better tomorrow.

  • FYI

    “Given that Jim Allister used the existence of the Army Council as one of his main reasons for opposing St Andrews, surely it is he who might be “bigging” them up beyond any importance they might have?”

    Correct. If the Army Council disappeared what excuse would Jim have then? The truth is that most of the personalities in TUV simply do not want to share power under any corcumstances.

  • One reason why the Army Council of the IRA can be bargained away is that while it is at “the pinnacle of that organisation”, it may not be the pre-eminent body within republicanism. The IRA is the army of a movement which also has a public political face (Sinn Féin) – other branches of republicanism have their own versions of both military and political – but behind both, and entirely out of sight, may be the real leadership, the IRB.

    I have long suspected its continued existence, and Gerry Adams claim that he was not in the IRA reinforced that belief. He may have been telling the truth – he may have been in the IRB, and not the IRA.

    As several posters have mentioned, it is hard to prove that a secret body has disbanded. But if the IRA AC says it has disbanded it may well be correct. The IRB will, however, continue to exist, but deep under cover.

  • TAFKABO

    But if the IRA AC says it has disbanded it may well be correct. The IRB will, however, continue to exist, but deep under cover.

    We’re not the People’s Front of Judaea, we’re the Judean People’s Front.
    Like I said, if it keeps them quiet, let them be.

  • Greenflag

    FYI,

    ‘If the Army Council disappeared what excuse would Jim have then? The truth is that most of the personalities in TUV simply do not want to share power under any corcumstances.’

    That’s the bottom line . But don’t worry about Allister and his ilk. They’ll always find an ‘excuse’.

    O’Connell,

    ‘This is an extremely evil group of deluded men — which sets aside 2,000 years of Christian teaching and — use of human suffering a valid response in any conflict’

    What planet are you living on ? That’s been the history of humanity not just for 2,000 years but for the million or so years that the hominids including homo sapiens have been around. The reason we need politics that works, constitutions,parliaments , the rule of law , democracy etc is to control /moderate/ restrict /curtail man’s predeliction for preying on his fellow man when it is to his/her advantage.

    Christianity some would say was to the fore in promoting ‘more peaceful’ relations between peoples . Others would contend that it also added to the pyre to further it’s own ideology as did other religions .

    ‘Didn’t the Antichrist have seven heads too? ‘

    To anyone who takes hallucinogenic drugs even your cat can have seven or even more heads . A new God was born in India a couple of weeks ago . Proof ? Easy ! The baby had two faces in the one head 🙁

    There is no Anti Christ -never was and never will be . A load of oul cobblers but a good story for keeping the ‘mindless’ in line.

  • TAFKABO,

    I understand your cynicism, but I think you underestimate the importance of symbolism in the republican movement, as well as the importance of the link with the past. The 1916 Proclamation set out the thinking (“In the name of the past generations … ” etc) which some people think to be just rhetoric, but there is a strong thread within republicanism that values the continuity of their campaign.

    Having said that, the important thing is that the continuity … er, continues. In other words, the IRB does not have to actually do anything, just exist. It is, in effect, the pilot light of republicanism.

  • Greenflag

    Horseman,

    ‘but there is a strong thread within republicanism that values the continuity of their campaign’

    Of course . There always will be within ‘republicanism’ a campaign to ‘unite’ this island under one Government . That said all that matters is that an such campaign is conducted by peaceful means and within the aegis of the GFA. Unionists are also allowed to campaign for the ‘Union’ under the same terms .

    ‘It is, in effect, the pilot light of republicanism.’

    Perhaps but the gas tank is empty and SF have changed their power supplier to electric .

    Tafkabo has got it right .

  • Ms Wiz

    Turgon

    ‘In addition the DUP must realise that the Army Council is not actually a group of military strategists. It is a group of grubby sectarian criminals and it disbanding itself will be as believable as any other group of criminals promising to go straight.’

    That sounds like it was written by a Sun hack for the benefit of the English ‘readership’. The British Army’s own assessment of the Provos was anything but the above, which begs the question: how did a band of criminals fight a guerilla war against a paramilitary police force and one of the world’s best army’s to a stalemate? Were the security forces really that incompetent? It seems unionists have a strangely symbiotic connection with the Provos, being largely instrumental in their coming into existence, it’s blossomed a weird sort of love/hate relationship, which also begs another question: if there’s no more republican threat then what’s the point in unionism? Oh dear, time to big-up the dissidents…

    Back to the Army Council. Does anyone outside of the intelligence agencies even know who they are? How would we know if they’d stood down or not? I’m sure MI5 types are still tailing them, tapping their phones, cars, homes etc, so is it simply a case of the spooks telling us the alleged AC boys aren’t meeting once a week anymore, ergo they must have disbanded. Anyway what’s the point of an AC if it can’t arm an army?

    TAFKABO

    ‘Who cares if the army council stays or goes?
    Sinn Fein are administering British rule, if letting them keep their little pretend army keeps them quiet while they’re doing it, then so what?

    Face it, they’re down on the ground, let’s be magannimous in victory, and stop kicking.’

    You’re quite right.

  • Greenflag,

    … the gas tank is empty and SF have changed their power supplier to electric.

    I’m not certain you understand what the IRB really is (or ‘might’ be). It is not, per se, a military organisation. It is an umbrella body. It operates in ways, and through organisations, as the times require. The Army Council’s gas tank is empty (or full of poured concrete, more likely), and SF is transforming itself into a political party for the 21st century, but who is to say whether or not the IRB is not behind both of these facts? I’m wary of sounding like a conspiracy theeorist (which I’m not), but I do think that the AC is not the be-all and end-all of the republican movement.

  • RepublicanStones

    Horseman, while my old republican bones would love to think there was an element of truth in what you say, and to be fair it seems unproveable either way.
    I doubt it, I would prefer myself if the Fenians were still behind the scenes. Raising a glass to Stephens and the boys each year. Ideas like this always capture the imagination, and the Muslim Brotherhood, whilst not as secretive as say the illuminati(if they exist) do lend credence to the possibility of such societies. But as i said, unproveable.

    I think Greenflag was correct when he said TAF had it right, although TAF if you’ll indulge me in a little creative licence….

    ‘Sinn Fein are administering British rule *(with a fair bit of input from Leinster House)*, if letting them keep their little pretend army keeps them quiet while they’re doing it, then so what?’

  • Who me?

    “how did a band of criminals fight a guerilla war against a paramilitary police force and one of the world’s best army’s to a stalemate?” – Ms Wiz

    Firstly, they didnt fight a war, but a terrorist campaign. Hard to fight against people who leave bombs in cars to kill innocent civilians or use babies prams to transport weapons. Secondly, the provos have surrendered their weapons and are serving the British in stormont and supporting a British police force on the streets. Stalemate- Hardly!

  • interested

    F_D summed up a lot of my initial reaction when I saw this piece.

    Is Chairman Jim getting the jitters that his one last figleaf is going to be removed from him. He’s lost Paisley (snr and jnr) as targets to kick and the chuckle brothers now now universally agreed to have been confined to history – oddly enough even prior to the Robinson move into FM.

    That leaves Jim and the TUV with one real plank of opposition namely the Army Council of the IRA which he himself described as “the apex of its military command”.

    Turgon,
    For you now to urge the DUP “not to get too carried away with the army council” is laughable. What exactly is TUV policy on this issue then? Do they believe that the end to the Army Council should be demanded, but not too much of course in case its actually achieved? Of course then you throw in that even if it is disbanded you wouldn’t believe it anyway.

    If this is an early example of TUV strategising then its a fairly pathetic attempt.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but who is to say whether or not the IRB is not behind both of these facts?’

    Who cares . All that matters is the political fact that NI now has an opportuinty to create some sort of half way house democracy. It’s the half way house to nowhere but that’s neither here nor there for the foreseeable future.

    Don ‘Quixote ‘ Allister has to find something to cling to . What better than the ‘invisible ‘men . Who can prove he can or can’t see them or that they do or don’t exist and if they do how much influence they could /might have ?

    Unionists are waking up to the fact that Irish Nationalists/Republicans in NI now have a ‘veto’ over how and by whom the Province is ruled . Some are having great difficulty in adjusting to the new world which is still ‘birthing’ . Some such as those who are flocking to the TUV prefer to remember the corpse of the old unionist world – cloaked of course in the usual ‘morality’ trappings.

    If Unionists can’t get over their ‘hang ups’ then they really need to look at some other ‘political solution/fix’ . I’ve mentioned several times on Slugger one ‘fix’ which would could suit those who cannot stomach SF in a power sharing government in NI but it would appear that they have even less stomach for the suggested ‘fix’.
    .

  • Turgon

    Fair_deal / interested,

    Thank you for your comments. In all absolute honesty this is not an attempt to bash the DUP, nor is it TUV policy (I am not of any importance in the TUV).

    What it is, is flagging a concern I have. Currently unionists in general are demanding the end of the army council (with good reason). We do not, however, really understand how important this organistaion is; just look at some of the other comments about other things like an army convention. They may be nonsense, maybe not, we do not know.

    I am, however, slightly concerned that if the DUP closely link an end to the army council to the devolution of policing and justice; the republican movement may not regard that as a concession of any importance, yet may inflate its supposed importance to demand more concessions.

    My other concern is that the republican movement might find a form of words which would be unacceptable to unionists yet will leave us in a very difficult position in terms of not agreeing to P+J devolution.

    It is not an attack on the DUP or the TUV but merely my opinion and my concern.

    If you can get rid of the army council I will be delighted but the blog is a concern I have, no more.

    Regards

  • marty

    If you can get rid of the army council I will be delighted

    Thing is though, how would anyone know that it had been done away with? Presumably a statement would be issued, but that’s hardly like to be good enough for the TUV and fellow travellers.

  • dodrade

    Never mind the Army Council, what about the catering department?

  • The solution to the AC ‘problem’ is, of course, obvious.

    In the light of the GFA and the StAA, and in particular decommissioning, there is no reason for the IRA to remain proscribed.

    Unproscribe the IRA (and loyalist groups if/when they descommission), and the problem is solved. No-one can object to an IRA as legal, and as innocuous, as any other ‘old soldiers’ association.

  • interested

    Turgon,
    The trouble with your “more concessions to SF” argument is that there aren’t many more which can come really. The only things which SF want (eg. an ILA) would have to come courtesy of HMG but they wouldn’t really be involved. The ‘concession’ SF wants is purely an issue to be sorted out amongst the NI parties.

    The converse may actually be true of course – the DUP has stated that the end to the Army Council would have to come prior to Policing & Justice. However, who’s to say that’s the only thing which unionism could request prior to that being devolved. The end to the Army Council could only be one issue in a much wider shopping list before policing & justice might be contemplated.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    AFAIK the structures of the PIRA work as follows, an Army Convention meeting (made up of representatives of the differeent ‘units’) elects an Army Executive (13 I think). The membership of the Army Council is drawn (7 I think) and elected from the Army Executive. Army Conventions were/are relatively rare events (for obvious reasons). I would assume in keeping with the republican mindset/spirit of their structures the disbandment of the Council would have to be a Convention decision.

    IIRC it was the Army Council that was imbued as the government of Ireland status by the Second Dail (not the executive or convention). Although the last surviving member of the Second Dail passed this on to the CIRA Army Council after SF agreed to take seats in the Dail.

    I haven’t been reading as much about the Provos as I used to so my memory could be wrong and I am sure one of the republicans can correct if my facts or interpretation are worng.

    I understand what you are saying but such are the dangers of any negotiation.

    Most of your argument can be categorised either as be careful what we wish for or when God wants to punish us he makes our wishes come true. Caution and concern about negotiations is perfectly understandable and reasonable.
    However, if taken too far it risks talking yourself out of doing anything for fear of something going wrong.

    From 1921 to 1972 Unionism could deliver electoral success and from that flowed what we wanted politically. That ended in 1972, the rules of the game changed. Unionism cannot afford to be inert or expect 50%+1 will mean we get exactly what we want.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Hard to fight against people who leave bombs in cars to kill innocent civilians or use babies prams to transport weapons’

    Who me, look up the word ‘Guerilla’.

    Or would you have us line up and march toward eachother through the musket smoke?

  • Turgon

    fair_deal,
    Thank you that was interesting and useful

    Interested,
    A good suggestion re DUP policy thank you also.

    Regards

  • Greenflag

    been the history of humanity not just for 2,000 years but for the million or so years

    True. The spectrum of history is therefore determined by the desire of the participants to use violence or not. The less violence there is the further man has evolved. Therefore the republican position of getting out the guns straight away and destroying it for every other group is neanderthal in essence. That position must be set aside as self-fulfilling nonsense.

    This is where we come to Gerry Adams and seven headed Antichrists, who are in essance Neanderthals whose rationale must be challenged and is being challenged by God’s prophecy.

    For the sake of mankind, there must never be again a seven headed beast.

  • earnan

    The original IRA was not criminal. There may have been a few land grab related killings that were not legitimate but they were the exception to the rule. Don’t bring them into this.

  • barr140172

    Why is the focus on disbanding the army council? it wasn’t the army council that murdered robert mccartney and paul quinn.

    shouldn’t there also be something said about getting rid of paramilitary structures, particularly at local level?

  • Greenflag

    ‘The spectrum of history is therefore determined by the desire of the participants to use violence or not. The less violence there is the further man has evolved’

    Obviously then man has disevolved over the past 100 years . Since 1900 approx 100 million of the species have died in various wars, rebellions, holocausts, ethnic cleansings , religious wars , civil wars , resource wars etc etc .

    ‘This is where we come to Gerry Adams and seven headed Antichrists, who are in essance Neanderthals whose rationale must be challenged and is being challenged by God’s prophecy’

    Ok loon – that’s it – The mention of God/Anti Christ’and prophecy in highly correlated with mental deficiency of distrubed nature .Go switch off your seven brain cells – open your legs wide -bend forward – stick your head between your knees and ask God to prophesise what will happen next . On the other hand you could team up with one of those ‘world is coming to an end Armageddon psychics or more accurately psychos !

  • RepublicanStones

    John O’Connell, if there is a god, can you explain to us why he saw fit to bless you with a mental problem?

  • TAFKABO

    Sinn Fein are administering British rule *(with a fair bit of input from Leinster House)*,

    As a Unionist, I’m not too perturbed by this it is the inevitable working out of the agreement I voted for, and as a democrat I want to see all sections of society feel they have a stake in Northern Ireland.
    Finally, as a realist, I know that Leinster House will be happy to maintian the status quo for the forseeable future, Bertie even said as much recently.

  • Dave

    “And given that the organization is both illegal and secret, I don’t know what rule there is that dictates that the IRA’s property portfolio must be sold off.”

    It depends on who ‘owns’ the assets and cash reserves, doesn’t it? For example, was the 10 million in cash that the Provos received from Libya held in trust by the Provos on behalf of its members or should it be regarded as a personal donation to the members who received it and washed it? Likewise with the money they received from FARC (Irish Intelligence puts this sum at 25 million dollars) and from the Northern Bank (26 million sterling), and a plethora of other forms of revenue generation. Were those multi-million cash injections divided between the crooks responsible or were they operations carried out on behalf of the Provos? As The Times points out, the Provos investing in property helped fuel the property boom in Belfast. So, the obvious question is what happens to this vast wealth after the Provo’s Army Council ceases to exist? Unless you expect them to divest of their assets and cash by donating it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the other options are that it is regarded as being the wealth of the members of the Provos and returned to those shareholders or it is regarded as being personal wealth of the godfathers and retained by them after the Provos formally go out of business.

    “If such property is not currently the subject of a criminal investigation, I don’t see why it would be after any disbandment move.”

    You don’t? It’s very simple. It is difficult to prove who is the beneficial owner of a property when the criminals use front men to claim ownership (Thomas Murphy, formerly on the Provo’s Army Council, used front men to claim ownership of £30 million worth of property in Manchester that he was the beneficial owner of, but it was seized by the UK CAB), but it is very easy to trace the proceeds of the sale of the suspected property if the front men returns them from his control back to the beneficial owners. This is why the Provos will find it impossible to dispose of their vast property bank.

  • Ard Eoin

    What a load of tripe some people on this site talk. To my simple mind there are two views on the army council;
    1. Unionist View: The leadership of a bloodthirsty bunch of terorists/criminals who should all be took out and shot by the first available firing squad.

    2. Republican View: The one true government of the Irish Republic as declared in 1916.

    The unionist argument for disbandment taken with the assertion that they are a bunch of criminals is the equivelant of the Italian government asking the Mafia to disband. The Republican view can not allow for the disbandment of the Army Council as this is tantamount to surrender. It is my simple opinion that unless the causes of conflict are removed then the Army council can not be removed either.

  • Greenflag

    Obviously then man has disevolved over the past 100 years . Since 1900 approx 100 million of the species have died in various wars, rebellions, holocausts, ethnic cleansings , religious wars , civil wars , resource wars etc etc .

    Obviously it is so. But this is predicted in the Book of Revelation as the Harvest of the Earth before the coming of Christ. Remember him.

    On the other hand you could team up with one of those ‘world is coming to an end Armageddon psychics or more accurately psychos

    The world is not coming to an end. The world is changing from an Old Tetament paradigm to a New Testament paradigm. But I would add that your world is about to end as it is the end for cynics.

  • ReblicanStones

    The same problem as Winston Churchill and just about every person of significance, especially artists and writers, in the history of the world. But my problems are mild in comparison to most.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    fair_deal: “Pretty much all the other sacred cows have become bargaining chips.”

    Like I always say — sacred cows make some of the best hamburger…

    fair_deal: “Unionism has overly focused on counter-strategy in the past focusing on the others may or may not do. The distinct problem with this is you don’t focus what you want or how you get it. Instead you risk being made to make so many twist and turns that you end up befuddled. It is a significant waste of time and energy try to predict the actions and motivations of others, focus on your own aims and actions.”

    Strategically, counter-strategy may be the DUP’s best move. It’s what they know, so they’re in their comfort zone. They keep a short leash on the opposition, they don’t have to take risks or innovate and they get the thrill of saying “no” over and over again. What is there not for them to like?

  • Greenflag

    joconnell,

    ‘The world is changing’

    The world has always changed . If it did’nt we would not be here .

    ‘ from an Old Testament paradigm to a New Testament paradigm’

    What does this mean in English ?

    ‘But I would add that your world is about to end as it is the end for cynics.’

    I’m a skeptic not a cynic equally disbelieving in those who purvey the salvation of my ‘soul’ through taking my cash as those who purvey instant hair growth or beauty from a bottle !

    The world ends for many people every day and it begins for many more .

  • Greenflag

    ‘ from an Old Testament paradigm to a New Testament paradigm’

    What does this mean in English ?

    we are in an in-between zone at the moment as we move from a world dominated by ego to a world dominated by awareness and enlightenment. This has not always been so as you infer. This is now.

    One of the examples of this is that in the law we are changing from an assumption that man is essentially evil (Do Not do…) to an inference and assumption that man is essentially good. (Do onto others as you would have them do on to you).

    The era of terrorism has masked these changes rather than achieved them. Terrorism is part of the old ways.

    I’m a skeptic not a cynic equally disbelieving in those who purvey the salvation of my ‘soul’ through taking my cash as those who purvey instant hair growth or beauty from a bottle !

    If you think of it this way – that Christ is looking for your soul in order to prevent you from destroying the planet – then you will realise that Christ is the saviour of the world, not some charlatan.

  • Bakunin

    The Army Council — who cares?

    Aren’t they all British spies anyway?

  • My secret intelligence sources can exclusively reveal that both the Army Council and the shadowy IRB are merely fronts for yet a third organisation, the Internet Republican Community, or IRC for short, which conducts its business through a form of Internet instant messaging.

    More seriously, what’s the distinction between abolishing a committee and just not having any meetings of it?

  • Greenflag

    ‘we are in an in-between zone at the moment as we move from a world dominated by ego to a world dominated by awareness and enlightenment’

    Any actual proof that the world is no longer dominated by ego ?

    The world is always in an in between zone . It’s just that sometimes the changes are greater than at other times. Man’s basic nature does not change .

    ‘Terrorism is part of the old ways’

    There has always been ‘terrorism’ We just gave it different names e.g the American Revolution , the French , Russian, and Chinese also had revolutions . We Irish merely had a Rebellion .

    ‘that Christ is looking for your soul in order to prevent you from destroying the planet – then you will realise that Christ is the saviour of the world, not some charlatan.’

    So this Christ is your God the one responsible for creating every single living creature on earth over the past 500 million years and has during all that time overseen the extinction of some 99% of all living creatures that he/she /it created? Not a charlatan then just the equivalent of your local neighbourhood ‘exterminator’ except on a planetary if not cosmic scale ?

    If it’s all right with you I’ll look after my own sole . I know a good cobbler when I need one. .

  • Greenflag

    Any actual proof that the world is no longer dominated by ego ?

    Observation suggests that we in the North of Ireland are moving away from a grievance culture to a more mature “understanding of where people are coming from” culture. I’m sure that NI is representative of a changing Western world.But it’s not easy to discern, I agree.

    Man is changing from his Neanderthal days to his peaceful days, violence to peace, guided by Jesus.

    There has always been ‘terrorism’

    Never before in the history of mankind have organisations like the IRA been guilty of killing people simply to keep their greivances in the news. Ego-driven orgs like the IRA are a phenomenon of the late 20th century. A new level to evil activity.

    Not a charlatan then just the equivalent of your local neighbourhood ‘exterminator’

    I think you’ll find that man was the exterminator, a man dominated by the ego that led him into business, capitalism, and the destruction of all before him in order to make profit.

  • Dave

    Former Taoiseach, Garret FitzGerald, alluded to the proceeds of crime that amounts to “hundreds of millions” that is under the control of the IRA (which is under the control of its Army Council) in a recent article in the Irish Times:

    [i]”Two weeks ago TV3 concluded its excellent series of programmes on the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) with a powerful documentary on the hundreds of millions of pounds or euro raised by three decades of IRA criminal activities.

    Much of that huge amount of illegal money was used to finance the IRA’s extensive murder campaign of violence, but Cab clearly believes that a significant proportion, skilfully laundered, was held back to be invested in property and other business activities to the benefit of Sinn Féin.

    As a result, that party now seems to have a major financial advantage vis-a-vis the constitutional parties in both parts of the island – although it is only in Northern Ireland that it has been able to translate this advantage into a significant share of the popular vote.

    This TV series had the kind of assistance from Cab and from former police leaders both here and in the North that enabled its authors to produce an authoritative account of what has been a huge criminal conspiracy.

    I was glad to note that there were clear indications in this programme that Cab is confident that years of painstaking investigations on its part are likely to enable it to mount a successful prosecution against those who currently control the assets into which the profits of decades of IRA criminal activity have been converted.

    Some observers had come to believe that, either because of inadequate evidence or because of political pressure not to rock the boat of the Northern Ireland settlement, this IRA funds scandal had been or was being allowed to become a dead issue – a belief that I had not shared.

    I was particularly struck by several features of this particular programme.

    One was the extent of the interaction between the IRA and non-political criminal gangs in our State.

    It is clear that many proceeds of non-political crime were laundered at a foreign exchange bureau that was operated at the Border on behalf of the IRA. These gangs and non-political Border smugglers had been required to pay a share of their loot to the IRA.

    Although word of a police raid on that bureau seems to have leaked, enabling its organisers to remove relevant documentation, these records were happily found in a nearby car, and have since revealed that this tiny office had been handling something like £100 million a year.

    However, because Cab feared that the manager of this bureau would be murdered by the IRA if he disclosed information on those who had used him to launder money, they did not press him on this issue – and he settled for a four-year sentence for his financial activities.

    What I find surprising, then, is that the issues raised by this remarkable programme do not seem to have evoked reactions from our print media.”[/i]

    I don’t know why Dr FitzGerald finds it surprising that this particular elephant in the room is being ignored by the media when that media sees it as being its mission to prop-up the appeasement process by the expedient of ignoring the rather inconvenient fact that the British and Irish governments have injected Europe’s biggest crime syndicate into the political system in Northern Ireland.

  • Greenflag

    joconell ,

    ‘Observation suggests that we in the North of Ireland are moving away’

    Wonderful – keep going – and for the fundies as far away as possible-somewhere in the direction of the middle east could be good:(

    ‘Never before in the history of mankind have organisations like the IRA been guilty of killing people simply to keep their grievances in the news.- A new level to evil activity.’

    Nonsense -never before in the history of the world has the news media been so pervasive as to spawn a whole new political class of spin doctors . Every political party/government / terrorist group/religion / church /sect has their Dr Goebbels .

    How evil for instance is the fact that 35 of the 53 young women aged 14 to 17 of the FDLS weirdo sect in Texas are either pregnant or have already given birth by an ‘assortment’ of male geriatrics all of course so that they could go to ‘heaven’ . Complete and utter shite of course!

    ‘I think you’ll find that man was the exterminator’

    The Cambrian period – the dawn of life forms began some 500 million years ago . For 499,900,000 years man i.e Homo Sapiens was not around to exterminate any life forms . Thus ‘God’ for all that time was responsible for exterminating 98% of all life forms that he/she/it presumably created. Perhaps God got tired of this and decided to create ‘man’ to lend him a hand in species ‘extermination’.

    Perhaps there is no GOD and life just is and we should enjoy our brief period of light as long as we have it and try and not be too beastly to the other ducks in the swamp during our brief sojourn on this planet..

    ‘a man dominated by the ego that led him into business, capitalism, and the destruction of all before him in order to make profit.’

    This is the human condition. As Homo Sapiens has advanced from small bands of hominids to tribes to small kingdoms to the modern State man has had to modify his social norms and change his laws /behaviours to accomodate his growing numbers . On the way his journey has been interrupted by religion , economics , politics and science and of course history . The ‘evil’ you refer to is often the result of the juxtaposition of radical changes in all of the above areas sometimes interposed with an great ‘leader’ who can alternatively move man forward a little in our common humanity or who delights in the slaughter of millions of ‘them’ because his God has deemed it so ! The concept /symbol of a God- has been the source of much ‘evil’ and ‘ignorance’ in the world just as much as it has been the source of much good and inspired many people to help their fellow men in time of need .